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Remembering slavery in the ‘slaving capital of the world’: Liverpool and the legacy of the past

Tuesday 19 November 2019, 5.30PM to 18:45

Speaker(s): Jessica Moody

Liverpool was the largest slave-trading port city in all of Europe. The total number of enslaved African people taken in Liverpool ships to the Americas is estimated to be around 1.4 million. Mapping the ways in which the city of Liverpool, home to the oldest continuous black presence in Britain, has collectively and publicly ‘remembered’ (or not) transatlantic slavery from the late 18th century to the 21st century, reveals the ways in which history shapes memory over time, and dissonant memory persists through contested public debates. This paper, based on research mapping Liverpool’s public memory of slavery over 200 years through anniversaries, newspapers, written histories, texts and guidebooks, museums, the urban landscape, rituals and black activism explores this dissonant heritage of slavery in the historic ‘slaving capital of the world’. 


Jessica Moody is Lecturer in Public History at the University of Bristol. Her research considers how people engage with the past, focusing on difficult and dissonant histories of slavery, race and war. She has worked at the universities of Portsmouth and York, and for National Museums Liverpool. She is a former Cultural Heritage Management MA student (York, with Laurajane Smith) and this paper is based on research from her forthcoming book (Liverpool University Press, 2020) developed from her PhD (History, University of York). 


York Heritage Research Seminars are free and open for anyone to attend - no booking is required. Drinks are served from 17:15. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact

Location: K/159

Admission: Free